As the nation's 39th chief executive, Carter brokered the 1978 Camp David Accords, which established peace between Egypt and Israel, and the Panama Canal Treaty. He also completed full diplomatic relations between the United States and the People's Republic of China.
But his efforts on behalf of human rights, international development and peace didn't stop when he left the White House. For the last 20 years, he's been a tireless globetrotter, mediating disputes, observing elections, and working to eradicate disease. In the last 12 months alone, he's undertaken missions to Kenya, Mozambique, Venezuela, Mexico and Mali.
On Wednesday, Nov. 1, Carter delivered the 21st Bernard Brodie Distinguished Lecture on the Conditions of Peace. He was presented during his visit with the UCLA Medal, the university's highest honor.
"If you stop and think: 'What person alive today has had the greatest effect on world peace?' Carter would have to be near the top of the list," said Prof. Emeritus Michael Intriligator, director of UCLA's Center for International Relations. "It's not only what he did as president, but what he's done since he left the presidency. It's been extraordinary. He's played a major role in mediating conflicts in Africa, the Middle East and Korea."
In 1982, Carter founded the nonprofit, nonpartisan Carter Center in Atlanta to address national and international issues of public policy. It has initiated projects in more than 65 countries to resolve conflicts, prevent human rights abuses and revitalize urban areas. Its major programs include observing elections in foreign countries to help ensure they are run fairly, and holding an annual symposium on mental health policy.
Carter's visit was sponsored by the Ron W. Burkle Center for International Relations, the BCIR Leadership Circle, International Studies and Overseas Programs, and the Iser L. Freund Estate in honor of Rabbi Leslie Freund.
The Center for International Relations at UCLA seeks to understand world politics and security, not only in traditional military and strategic contexts, but also by addressing economic, environmental and social concerns. The Center has sponsored the Brodie lecture series since 1981, in memory of Bernard Brodie, eminent scholar, teacher and pioneer of the study of world politics and modern strategic theory.